By Leah Kinney, June, 2012
Over the weekend, my husband put in a new kitchen door. The new door is all glass, whereas the old door was only half glass. Now, during the endless cycle of loading and unloading the dishwasher, I am bathed in the warmth of the morning sun, and as I look up to put the plates away, the vibrant green of the outside rushes to me. The extra glass has nudged me out of the deep and myopic rut of routine. My perspective is refreshed.
I am reminded of the simple profundity of paying attention. This jolt of realization—that we must pay attention—is not particularly astute, but it is important. As students of yoga, we hear this line so often that it starts to sound trite. However, I think we keep hearing it because it is so difficult to do. It seems to me that in order to change thought patterns or physical habits or knee-jerk emotional responses, we must have a direct and sincere relationship with all that is. We must observe the glory that is present in the mundane, and both the exhilarating and the devastating without indulging in the desire to rush in and make a change. While the truth found in pure observation may leave us raw, it does not render us helpless. Rather, it arms us with the clarity to think and act decisively and with compassion.
It is easy to wax poetic on the art of paying attention, but quite another matter to actually pay attention. The instruction is simple, but the application and effects are deeply complex. Still, refining your attention to perceive the subtleties of your existence in this interconnected world doesn’t have to be a big deal. Open your mind, or maybe just your eyes, and start small. Practice makes perfect. What you find may not be perfectly to your liking, but is perfect nontheless.